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A Humane-Inspired Approach

Originally appears in the Fall 2016 issue

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION encourages students to be change makers while increasing their scientific understanding of the natural processes that surround us. Humane education is a natural fit within the themes and goals of this type of learning. Both fields strive to enhance critical thinking skills, increase positive actions, and generate an understanding of critical issues to create more informed consumers. At the very core, humane education believes that all living things are interconnected and helps to develop empathy towards all living beings through understanding. According to the Association of Professional Humane Educators, a humane educator
“is anyone who teaches and promotes humane attitudes toward people, animals and the environment. This includes, but is not limited to, anyone who teaches animal welfare, animal rights, animal behavior, environmental concerns, character education, cultural studies and any combination of the above.”

Beyond traditional scientific knowledge of the environment, Canada’s Framework for Environmental Learning and Sustainability, for example, places a heavy emphasis on strategies that enhance knowledge in the areas of justice, equity, peace, ethics, and quality of life. In addition, the Framework notes the importance of creating a call to action in environmental education programs.

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Brian Ogle is an instructor of anthrozoology, conservation studies, and animal behavior at Beacon College located in Leesburg, Florida. In addition, Brian has directed environmental education programs in zoos and nature centers. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Association of Professional Humane Educators (APHE), which provides networking opportunities and resources. To learn more, please visit, or email

Web Resources
Detroit Zoological Society Department of Environment Humane Society
Bird Safe Classrooms
Beacon College
Science at Beacon College
The Gryphon Press